From little acorns . . .
When I stumbled across this grainy old picture of a pensioner in a bowler hat almost 15 years ago, I could never have imagined the astonishing journey of discovery it would take me on.
The old man turned out to be my great-great grandfather, John Roberts who had a record 30 grandsons serving in the Great War.
The incredible, unexpected find unlocked the door to four hundred years of family history in Devon and inspired the following:
- The publication of History Maker – a book revealing the story of John and his grandsons who went to war
- A once-in-a-lifetime family get-together in Devon attended by more than 100 descendants of the Witheridge-born farm worker
- The erection and dedication of a memorial cross in Witheridge for the father of 15 who had more than 100 grandchildren
- The holding of almost 20 talks in Devon about John and his grandsons who went to war, seven of whom never made it home
- The publication of a new, special hardback edition of History Maker – unveiling extraordinary new breakthroughs in John’s story
- The production of a new eight-volume A-Z of more than 500 family members who served in three wars
The research led to the creation of detailed family trees for my mum and dad’s families – the Roberts’ and the Arscotts.
They in turn spawned the production of a series of substantial self-contained special reports focusing on:
- The Arscotts’ extraordinary connection to Winston Churchill – and Australian’ royalty’
- The tragic deaths of two of my young cousins in the Aberfan disaster in 1966
- How a Teignmouth-born family member fought under Admiral Lord Nelson in the Battle of Trafalgar
- A builder connected to my family who was hanged after fatally shooting his neighbour in Porlock in 1914
There are, as you can probably guess, so many stories to tell.
Here, I have the great opportunity to share them with you.
I hope my research and findings inspire you to delve deeper into your family history.
Maybe you can assist me in uncovering more information about the Roberts’ and Arscotts in Devon and beyond.
And perhaps I can help you with your research – and in making exciting new discoveries.
My ancestors at a glance
From my great-great grandparents to my mum and dad
Posts within this website will explain family connections. Many will be linked to my following ancestors.
My grandfather, George Burnett Roberts and my great-grandfather, Daniel Arscott.
My great-great grandfather
John Roberts (1829-1919)
Benjamin Roberts (1866-1947)
George Burnett Roberts (1898-1948)
Sydney George Roberts (1920-1999)
My great-great grandfather
John Arscott (1807-1879)
Daniel Arscott (1857-1922)
William Henry Arscott (1883-1936)
Sarah Helena Arscott (1917-1997)
Born in Morchard Bishop in Devon, I worked for a number of local and regional newspapers for more than 26 years as a journalist and editor. Now semi-retired, I have devoted thousands of hours to researching my family history over the past 15 years.
Having completed my family history research (filling a substantial 19 volumes), I have now launched a new business – helping others with their family history research and telling the stories unveiled in my own unique way. My family history is told in true newspaper style – as stories and features which bring to life the joys and the trials and tribulations faced by many hundreds of family members over four centuries in my home county, in peacetime and in war.
Epic family history project completed
I have just finished my first major commission as a family history researcher – a detailed project researching the Clewlow family.
Spanning almost 300 pages – and filling four volumes – it traces the family back to the early 1600s in Staffordshire.
The work was completed for hotel director Lynn Hadley, whose mother was a Clewlow.
‘I would like to thank you for the wonderful work you have done on my mother’s family tree,’ said Lynn.
‘It is truly inspiring and very interesting to know so much about my ancestors.
‘The way you have presented my family history is fantastic.
‘The four volumes are all set out in such a way that I can easily read all about my family.’
It was a great pleasure and privilege to carry out this work.
I have now been asked by Lynn to research her father’s family history.